Dunlop, the most successful tyre supplier in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hour race, is commemorating its renewed relationship with Jaguar by transporting the 1956 race winning Jaguar D-Type to Le Mans for a lap of honour before the 2006 race.
Half a century ago, Ninian Sanderson and Ron Flockhart were victorious in the Jaguar D-Type, entered by Ecurie Ecosse. The 3.4 litre car completed 300 laps, a distance of 4034.929 kilometres, on its way to victory.
The Dunlop and Jaguar partnership embraces many of the iconic successes in the history of both brands. Six Le Mans victories were shared between the two companies, with the success story spanning the 1951 Jaguar XK120C through the legendary D-Type era to the Jaguar XJR-9LM that won in 1988.
Dunlop are still pacesetters in the world of international sportscar racing having won an unparalleled 34 Le Mans victories. The Dunlop tyres used in the 2006 Le Mans 24 Hour race are designed, developed and manufactured at Fort Dunlop in Birmingham, England, directly adjacent to the Castle Bromwich factory where the new Jaguar XK is manufactured.
"The XK marks the reigniting of the relationship between Jaguar and Dunlop and we are delighted to commemorate this by bringing one of the most famous Dunlop shod Jaguar's for a 50th anniversary tribute at Le Mans," said James Bailey of Dunlop.
The 1956 winning D-Type is now owned by Cavallino Holdings and has been shipped to France from the USA especially for this parade, where it will be joined by a further eight legendary D Type Jaguars.
Le Mans has played an important role in Dunlop's research and development. The latest Dunlop RunOnFlat tyres, which are available as an optional extra on the XK, can trace their inspiration to the Dunlop Denloc tyres used on Jaguar's XJR-9LM Le Mans winning car of 1988.
"The 230mph top speeds at Le Mans resulted in a need for a tyre that could stay on the wheel rim even when punctured. This Dunlop technology was proven on the famous Silk Cut Jaguars of the eighties and now XK owners can benefit from the same security and safety benefits," added Bailey.